For Lauren Daoust, social worker at Ministry Door County Medical Center, helping those in need has always come naturally. “When I was in fifth grade, there was a boy in my class who was always picked last for kickball,” she says. “One day, I decided I wanted to be team captain so I could pick him first. That was the best day of my school year.”
Now, in her role working with clinic and hospital patients and residents of Ministry’s Skilled Nursing Facility, Lauren serves a wide variety of people, listening to their needs and connecting them to the help and support they require. On any given day, Lauren will visit with hospital patients to ensure they have support when discharged, be called to the Emergency Room to support a patient, or help a clinic patient create an advanced directive. “We work closely with other services and community organizations such as Home Health, Meals on Wheels, Lifeline and Ministry’s Memory Clinic,” she says. She also provides support to family members of those who are hospitalized or in the Skilled Nursing Facility. “Caregivers need resources, too,” she adds.
Lauren is grateful Ministry has so many resources to offer, including the Ministry Fund that provides for immediate needs of patients and their families during times of crisis. “We help families who are struggling with paying rent or utility bills while between jobs, we provide hotel rooms for a family member of someone who is hospitalized if they can’t afford it, we help with emergency dental care, and we help pay for medication for the short-term for individuals who are experiencing tight financial times. We’re really offering a hand up for people,” she says. Since being established in 1999 by MDCMC social worker Katie Graf, the Ministry Fund has gifted more than $445,000 to the community.
Another available resource is the Brighter Day Fund that helps those struggling with mental illness with immediate needs. “We recently had a mom at our birthing center who was struggling with post-partum depression. Counseling really helped, but she couldn’t afford to continue it. The Brighter Day Fund helped her get the counseling she needed so she could care for herself and her baby.”
Lauren enjoys the challenge of her work, and says that helping her clients is like “putting together the pieces of a puzzle.” She uses her ability to be empathetic and non-judgmental. “I think I’ve always been able to see the strengths of others, even if that person is having difficulties,” she says. Lauren is happy to be part of the Ministry team. “Ministry really lives up to its mission to serve all those in need, especially the poor. And that doesn’t just mean financially – we help those who are isolated, or who may have limited emotional resources. Truly, it’s a privilege and an honor to help people in their time of need.”